As a Sony shooter, it’s inevitable to get asked more and more questions on social media about shooting portraits. This is partly because Sony is still very new in comparison to Nikon or Canon.
Table of Contents Hide
- Popular questions about shooting with Sony cameras
- 1. Are Sony Cameras expensive?
- 2. Is Sony worth the money?
- 3. Should I switch to Sony from (Nikon, Canon, Fuji, etc…)?
- 4. What Sony camera should I get?
- 5. How does the eye auto-focus work on Sony?
- 6. Do you use the joystick for focusing?
- 7. Do you use the touch-screen to focus?
- 8. Why are Sony lenses so expensive?
- 9. How is the quality of the full-frame Sony cameras?
- 10. Why do you use both crop sensor and full-frame cameras? Isn’t full-frame better?
- 11. Should I get the Sony a7iii or the Sony a7riii?
- 12. What accessories should I get for my first Sony camera?
- 13. Isn’t your Sony camera too small for your hands?
- 14. I heard the battery doesn’t last long. Is that true?
- 15. Are Sony cameras hard to learn?
- 16. Do you use the WIFI option to transfer photos to your phone?
- 17. I heard the menu on Sony cameras is confusing. Is that true?
- 18. Have you shot with lenses that are not from Sony?
- 19. Should I buy the 85mm f1.4 G Master or the Sony 85mm f1.8?
- 20. Why do you like the Sony 55mm f1.8 so much?
Popular questions about shooting with Sony cameras
Sometimes it’s questions about my workflow, but the majority of the time it’s about how I like shooting with the Sony alpha series mirrorless camera.
In this article, I want to break down some of the most popular questions I get about shooting portraits with Sony cameras. Things I like and don’t like and why I won’t change to other brands (yet).
1. Are Sony Cameras expensive?
Sony is just like any other camera brand. They provide budget options all the way to professional options and everything in between.
I purchase much of my gear used, so I a rarely pay full-price for any Sony gear.
I usually buy my camera bodies full-price but I will trade-in other gear that I don’t use to offset the price.
Budgets are all different and pricing is relative to your current financial situation. I would say if you want to jump into photography realize up front it will be an investment.
If you’re not that committed, rent gear first before making the large purchases.
2. Is Sony worth the money?
Yes. I truly believe that the equipment I have purchased is worth every penny. I have invested over the last 4+ years in many cameras and lenses for the Sony e-mount system.
I started with the original Sony a7 and now shoot with the Sony a7riii.
They have great technology in their camera systems and they make great glass for their lenses. You won’t be disappointed.
3. Should I switch to Sony from (Nikon, Canon, Fuji, etc…)?
This is a question I can’t really answer for you, but I will give you my recommendation.
If you are completely invested in another camera system, then sit down and write out the features you feel like you’re missing from your current system.
Don’t make the mistake of switching because you see others using Sony.
You will regret it later. If you’re really unhappy with your current system, rent a Sony for a week and give it a try, you just might find you like it or that your current camera is still perfect for your needs.
4. What Sony camera should I get?
I wrote an article on this specific question for beginner photographers. I break down some of the things you should consider when purchasing a Sony camera for portrait photography.
I highly recommend the Sony a7iii camera for portrait photography. It’s a great award-winning camera that has tons of functionality.
If your budget is not within that range, I would look into the Sony a6400 APSC camera. It has superb eye tracking and auto-focus for portraits. You won’t be disappointed.
5. How does the eye auto-focus work on Sony?
A magic little elf sits in the camera body and follows your subject. True story.
Now to be serious, I don’t know how the technology works, but I do know it works really well. It even became the industry standard before many of the other camera brands could catch up.
Set your camera to “Auto-Focus Continuous” and it will use a large part of the sensor to find the eye when face recognition is turned on. You can even do animal eye auto-focus as well.
Check out Manny Ortiz on YouTube for his breakdown of the Sony auto-focus settings for portraits. I highly recommend his channel.
6. Do you use the joystick for focusing?
Yes. I switch my camera focus mode to spot focus. I usually use medium spot and adjust my focus point with the joystick.
If I am close to my subject and the natural lighting is not good for tracking the eye, I will assist my camera and give it a general place to look.
About 90% of the time, it will pick up the eye when I press down on the shutter button for focus.
7. Do you use the touch-screen to focus?
No. This is not a feature that I find useful. I know some photographers who use it for subject tracking but only in unique situations.
Not a very common thing to shoot an entire session with touch-focus for me.
I do with the menu was touch screen, but that’s a whole other issue all together.
8. Why are Sony lenses so expensive?
You get what you pay for. When Sony lenses were first coming out, everyone said that the lenses were too expensive.
Now that other camera brands are releasing their own versions of lenses for mirrorless cameras and the prices are higher than Sony’s, everyone suddenly got quite on this topic.
To be honest I don’t know why Sony lenses seem expensive, but again I try my best to buy used gear and not new. I save a pretty penny while also trading in gear that I don’t use.
9. How is the quality of the full-frame Sony cameras?
Quality compared to what? You need a secondary data set to understand the quality.
The Sony a7riii is a 42mp camera and the quality of the portraits I get is amazing to me.
Now, I also get some great shots with my Sony a6400 crop-sensor camera. You can’t really go wrong with the quality in the newer Sony cameras.
10. Why do you use both crop sensor and full-frame cameras? Isn’t full-frame better?
If I take 9 shots with a full frame camera and one shot with an APSC camera and put them together and ask you to find the APSC shot I bet you would never guess on the first try.
Now if you take those same shots and put them into Lightroom and let you zoom in and pixel peep then your odds may go up depending on your experience with both bodies.
I love shooting with both cameras. They both have their pros and cons but I find that I am fortunate to have the choice.
I sold my full-frame Sony a7ii for the Sony a6400 and I have never regretted it. The focus is faster and
If your budget allows, I would recommend a full-frame body. If your budget is limited then an APSC would still be a great choice for portraits.
11. Should I get the Sony a7iii or the Sony a7riii?
If I could go back and do it all over again, I might go with the regular Sony a7iii and not the Sony a7riii.
The 42mp sensor creates large raw files that are killing my computer hard-drive space. I feel like the 24mp Sony a7iii would be overly sufficient for my needs.
The majority of my work is for digital platforms so I don’t need the crazy high resolution.
If you’re a studio or landscape photographer, then I would look into the Sony a7riii. Overall, both are great cameras and will help you get some great shots.
12. What accessories should I get for my first Sony camera?
First thing I would recommend buying is an extra battery. Even with great battery life on newer Sony cameras like the Sony a7iii, Sony a7riii, Sony a9 etc. I would have one more as a backup.
If your using an older crop sensor Sony camera with the FP-50 batteries, then you will want at least 2 more. They do not last long and you will want to keep extras handy.
For the Sony a7iii or similar cameras, you might want to consider a batter grip. Makes it easier to hold the camera in vertical (portrait) mode and the extra shutter button on the bottom comes in handy.
If you don’t like the Sony neck strap, I do recommend at least having a wrist strap for the camera.
I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me. You might not realize it, but you don’t always shave your attention on your hand and camera.
13. Isn’t your Sony camera too small for your hands?
I have pretty average hands for a guy but my pinky does hang off the bottom of the Sony a7riii.
To remedy that, I purchase a small grip attachment for the bottom. It extends the grip area and allows me to have all fingers firmly on the camera when shooting.
A camera battery grip will also help if you want to spend the extra money and have two batteries loaded in your camera at all times.
14. I heard the battery doesn’t last long. Is that true?
The Sony NP-FP50 batteries will run out fast. From my own experience, I learned to have around 3-4 batteries with me when shooting for a few hours.
They do not last long, and I think this is why Sony switched to the newer Sony NP-FZ100 batteries for their newer full-frame cameras.
Battery life is way better with the new Z batteries and lasts so much longer. Even with that said, I still have at least one battery with me as a back-up just in case.
15. Are Sony cameras hard to learn?
I think this is relative to the person asking the question. Sony cameras can’t teach you photography, but learning photography skills will help you learn Sony cameras.
Think of your camera as a tool. An extension to your creative process. It can’t be creative for you, but it can help you get creative and problem solve to get the best shots possible.
There are many quick-start guides and YouTube videos that can help you learn your camera faster.
The amount of content has doubled or even tripled online for technical camera learning.
16. Do you use the WIFI option to transfer photos to your phone?
Yes. I LOVE this feature and use it on almost every portrait shoot I do. Once I have finished a set, I have the model go change outfits, and I transfer 2-3 images from the previous set for her to see on my phone.
I have the iPhone 11Max so they screen is perfect for reviewing the images compared to the back of the camera.
17. I heard the menu on Sony cameras is confusing. Is that true?
The simple answer is yes. It can be confusing. But keep in mind the camera is built with features that cater to photographers and videographers.
There are tons of options and ways to custom your camera. The same can be said about any camera when looking into the menu the first time.
It may not be so beginner friendly but it does allow you to grow and learn different functions of the camera as your skills progress.
When I first started with the Sony a7riii I hated the menu. Now, I have shortcuts created and custom buttons set so I rarely have to go into the menu at all anymore.
18. Have you shot with lenses that are not from Sony?
One of my favorite lenses that is not a Sony lens is the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8. hands down one of my favorite lenses and I wish I had purchased it earlier for my photography.
I’ve used Sigma lenses and I’m interested in trying out Tamron for the full-frame system. I have limited experience with other lenses, but I invest on native lenses for now.
Have you used adaptors on your camera to shoot with lenses from other brands?
I did with the original Sony a7 and the experience was not so good. With the newer versions of the a7 series I hear the adaptors are way better. I’ve not tried them myself but I know photographers who do use them for Canon glass on Sony bodies.
19. Should I buy the 85mm f1.4 G Master or the Sony 85mm f1.8?
I don’t have experience with the 85mm f1.8 but I have shot many times with the 85mm f1.4. It is an amazing lens and very sharp.
If I was starting out, I would buy the f1.8 version along with a 35mm f1.8. two lenses for the price of one.
The G Master is a superb lens but very heavy when using it for long periods of time. I would prefer to have a variety of choices versus a single lens.
20. Why do you like the Sony 55mm f1.8 so much?
This lens is perfect for my shooting style. On my test shoots I like to have 3/4 shots of my models and this lens is perfect for that.
I stay about 3-4ft away and still get a slightly wider shot over using an 85mm where I would need to stand further back.
The small lens is light weight and very sharp. It is a few years old so you can find it in used condition and save some money over buying new. Make sure to check out Amazon.com for more buying options so you can save some money.
Shooting with Sony cameras is like shooting with any other camera brand. You have to remember that the camera is a tool. An extension of your creativity.
It can’t make your shots better just because of cool features. It can help from a technical stand point, but it still will be nothing but an advanced tool.
I hope I answered some of your questions when shooting with Sony cameras.
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